Italian cooking is very difficult to pin down -- almost every city and town has its specialties, and there are regional trends too; the end result is a huge number of local cuisines rather than a single national cuisine. However, there are some dishes that you will find almost everywhere, and that are now standards among the many Italian communities scattered across the globe.
Arguably the national dish, and certainly the best known abroad. Making the dough, topping suggestions, and links to many recipes.
Vegetable-Based | Fish-Based | Meat-Based | Arancini, Fritters and
Fish Soups | Light or Clear Soups | Hearty Soups
Cream & Cheese Based Pasta Sauces | Fish Based Pasta Sauces | Meat Based Pasta Sauces | Vegetable Based Pasta Sauces | Ravioli, Tortellini, and Other Stuffed Pasta | Baked Pasta | Risotto
Shellfish | Crustaceans | Octopus & Squid | Fresh Fish | Baccalà
Cutlets, Braciole, & Steaks | Roasts | Stews | Boiled Meats | Meatballs & Meat Loaves | Poultry | Pork | Lamb
Sweets & Desserts
Puddings, Gelato & other Spoon Desserts | Pies & Tarts | Cakes | Biscotti & Other Cookies | Frittelle, Cenci and other Fried Delights | Preserves, Frittate, and Other Tasty Treats